All posts by Lisa Mallow

For UMKC medical student and entrepreneur Fahad Qureshi, health care connects it all

Driven. Creative. Optimistic. Curious. Determined. Smart. Happy. These are common traits found in successful entrepreneurs. All of them are found in Fahad Qureshi.

A third-year medical student at UMKC, Qureshi took third place in the UM System Entrepreneurship Quest Pitch Competition, where 20 student teams from across the four campuses presented innovative business ventures.

Qureshi is the founder and creator of Vest Heroes, which uses a system of pulleys and levers in the operating room to relieve surgeons from bearing weighted lead X-ray skirts and vests during long procedures. Wearing the vests are required by law and protect health care professionals from radioactive exposure. But they are heavy – between 30 and 69 pounds – and can hinder mobility.

Qureshi wasn’t nervous during the final rounds of competition, as he’s had the idea for a long time and knows the product well. In fact, his invention is patent-pending, and he’s launched a company to fulfill orders for 100 vests that will be used throughout the country. “I strongly believe in the idea,” he said, “and it was great to get affirmation from the judges. To know it’s real and it’s working – I feel good about that.”

As a child, Qureshi had a good friend who died during an operation following a bad accident. He heard the surgeon say that wearing his 60-pound vest made it hard for him to make movements during his friend’s operation – and that’s something he never forgot.

While finding a way to reduce the weight of these vests has been in his head for a long time – “10 to 12 years, maybe more” – he didn’t have the background needed to solve it … until medical school.

Once at UMKC, he gained academic understanding, expanded his medical knowledge, got into the operating room and participated in an engineering apprenticeship, completely independent of the School of Medicine.

“Just because you are practicing medicine doesn’t mean you can’t do anything else,” he said. “I wasn’t looking for credit, I was looking for knowledge.”

He also found a local engineering firm to help out.

“When you have an interdisciplinary approach, that’s when you can really solve problems. Without medicine, I wouldn’t know what to build,” he said. “Without engineering, I wouldn’t know how to build it.”

In addition, Qureshi reached out to various physicians to get their opinions – how to improve the vest, how to grow consumer interest, what did and didn’t work well. His biggest support has come from Bogdan Derylo, M.D., a nephrologist from his hometown of Chicago and Akin Cil, M.D., UMKC professor and the Franklin D. Dickson/Missouri Endowed Chair in orthopaedic surgery.

“All of the feedback received was terrific,” Qureshi said. “The final model is a culmination of all the suggestions they provided.”

Qureshi, who worked minimum-wage jobs to fund the company so he can retain full equity, says mass distribution is his ultimate goal. He’s currently working with a Chinese manufacturer to help produce large numbers of the Vest Heroes, although that is sidelined now due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Any doctor or health care professional that uses radiation has a need for this,” he said. “There’s really no downside to using it – it’s a necessity, as I see it.”

There’s no doubt that Qureshi’s entrepreneurial spirit motivates him, but he sees health care connecting it all. As for his future, he plans “100 percent to practice medicine.” And part of that plan includes research, his company and teaching the next generation of doctors.

“When you choose what you do every day, it should be something that makes you happy. Going to work shouldn’t be scary or dreaded. If your work makes you happy, you’re doing something right.”

In addition to Qureshi, the UMKC teams presenting pitches during the final competition were Greyson Twist, Ph.D., bioinformatics and computer science major presenting his Genalytic project; and Kyle McAllister, business administration graduate student presenting his company Compost Collective KC.

UMKC Health Sciences District names project manager

The UMKC Health Sciences District has announced the appointment of Alison Troutwine as project manager for the District. She will be working out of Truman Medical Centers.

Alison Troutwine

In this newly created role, Troutwine will work with District partners to define strategic objectives and complete action plans in line with those objectives. She previously served as executive administrator at UMKC School of Medicine and has worked on UMKC Health Sciences District initiatives since May 2017. She brings a background and familiarity with the District partners to her new position, where she will continue to help move the District forward strategically.

Prior to joining UMKC in 2014, Troutwine worked in the Department of Surgery at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. She will complete her master’s degree in Nonprofit Management at the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management in December 2018.

“This is a great opportunity to help tell our story and take the UMKC Health Sciences District to the next level,” said Troutwine. “I look forward to building on the District’s momentum and seeing its future success.”

The UMKC Health Sciences District combines the unique expertise and services of 12 neighboring institutions to spur health-related research and community outreach in service of the Kansas City region and beyond. Partners include UMKC and its schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and health studies, and pharmacy; Truman Medical Centers; Children’s Mercy; Kansas City, Missouri Health Department; Missouri Department of Mental Health Center for Behavioral Medicine; Jackson County Medical Examiner; Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City; and Diastole Scholars’ Center.

UMKC School of Medicine connects six leading Kansas City hospitals to launch health care consortium on patient safety

The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine is launching a consortium focused on patient safety in collaboration with its affiliated teaching hospitals.

The UMKC Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety Consortium, an initiative created by the UMKC School of Medicine, includes faculty and teaching programs at Children’s Mercy, the Center for Behavioral Medicine, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Research Medical Center, Saint Luke’s Hospital and Truman Medical Centers. These six hospitals are the affiliated teaching hospitals for UMKC School of Medicine and already work closely with the medical school, providing residents, fellows and students clinical education and training.

“This is an exciting opportunity to bring together our hospital affiliates in a coordinated effort to raise the bar even higher on the safety and quality of care we provide patients throughout our community and our region,” said Steven Kanter, M.D., dean of the UMKC School of Medicine.

Peter Almenoff, M.D., UMKC professor of medicine and the Vijay Babu Rayudu Endowed Chair in Patient Safety, agrees.  “Together, we are combining our strengths to reduce preventable harm and ultimately improve health outcomes in Kansas City and beyond.”

Betty Drees, M.D., UMKC professor of medicine and dean emerita, oversees the development of the Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety Consortium at UMKC School of Medicine, which also aligns with the purpose of the UMKC Health Sciences District, formed in 2017 as a cooperative partnership of 12 neighboring health-care institutions on Hospital Hill. The UMKC Health Sciences District supports research, grants, community outreach and shared wellness for employees, faculty, students and surrounding neighborhoods. In addition, UMKC is one of only 18 institutions nationwide that offers a medical school, along with a dental, nursing and pharmacy school, on a single campus.

United in leadership, expertise, and resources in education and research, the consortium will lead scholarship and dissemination of local, regional and national activities directed to improve the quality of health care and patient safety.

The consortium will focus on four key areas in quality improvement and patient safety: a robust curriculum for learners; infrastructure support for projects and collaboration; promotion of research and scholarship; and improving community safety.

Activities of the consortium will be showcased at the annual Vijay Babu Rayudu Quality and Patient Safety Day at the School of Medicine. This annual event features updates on quality and safety by affiliated teaching hospitals; presentations of quality improvement projects by residents and students; faculty development workshops; and a keynote address by a national expert.

This year marks the 5th annual Vijay Babu Rayudu Quality and Patient Safety Day, to be held on Friday, May 11, 2018, at the School of Medicine. Dr. Carolyn Clancy, Executive in Charge, Veterans Health Administration, will present the keynote address.

According to Joann Paul, R.N., M.S.N., vice president of quality and patient safety at Saint Luke’s Health System, too many people die or suffer injuries due to preventable medical errors in the United States. “The consortium is addressing this issue first hand, positioning Kansas City as a leader dedicated to raising awareness and growing the resources needed for improving patient safety through quality outcomes research and training the health care workforce of the future.”

For more information, contact Betty Drees at 816-218-2582 or dreesb@umkc.edu.

About UMKC School of Medicine and Affiliated Teaching Hospitals:

  • UMKC School of Medicine improves the health and wellbeing of individuals through innovative programs in medicine, biomedical science, cutting-edge biomedical research and leadership in academic medicine. Academic options include an accelerated BA/MD program, an MD program, and master’s programs in Anesthesia, Bioinformatics, Physician Assistant, and Health Professions Education.
  • Children’s Mercy Kansas City is one of the nation’s top pediatric medical centers, with more than 700 staff pediatric subspecialists and researchers. It provides the highest level of care for children from birth through the age of 21.
  •  The Center for Behavioral Medicine provides comprehensive psychiatric care to patients from Kansas City and the seven surrounding counties.
  •  Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center is a patient-centered health care system with a 152-bed referral hospital and annex, six community-based outpatient clinics, and a mobile medical unit.
  • Research Medical Center is among the only tertiary care centers serving Kansas City proper, providing residents in Kansas City and a 150-mile surrounding region with exceptional patient care and leading technology through a broad range of highly specialized, state-of-the-art services, including a Level 1 Trauma Center.
  • Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City has served the health care needs of Kansas City for more than 130 years. In addition to being a Level 1 Trauma Center, it provides top level, state-of-the-art care through a wide range of specialized clinical services.
  • Truman Medical Centers is a two acute-care hospital health system, providing state-of-the-art health care to the Kansas City community. As an academic health center, TMC provides care from birth through senior years. It is the busiest Adult Level 1 Trauma Center in Kansas City.

UMKC health professions students learn together in large simulation

UMKC students in the schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Health Studies and Pharmacy participated in a large-scale poverty simulation.

In Kansas City, nearly one in five residents live below the poverty line — a harsh reality shared by many patients UMKC students see on Hospital Hill and beyond.

To better understand the challenges and frustrations of those living in poverty, students participated in a large-scale poverty simulation, part of the Interprofessional Education (IPE) program on the UMKC Health Sciences campus.

In November, more than 100 UMKC medical, nursing, pharmacy and dental students, along with faculty and volunteers, joined to experience the virtual realities of poverty and its effects on patients. The simulation was designed to incorporate IPE, an emerging teaching approach addressing the future of health care, in which a close-knit team of dentists, physicians, nurses and pharmacists provides personalized, integrated attention to patients.

In the simulation, one of five such sessions this fall, students role-played living for a month in poverty, with each “week” lasting 15 minutes. The goals were to keep their home, pay all bills, hold down jobs and feed their family and children each day – all while managing issues such as an illness in the family, a stolen car and expenses to repair their plumbing.

Students could rely on stations around the room, such as employers, a grocery store, a health care center, social services, a pawn shop and a quick cash outlet, to help them meet their goals. Following the simulation, the group members spent time sharing their experiences and discussing lessons learned.

”It was sad to realize that all my time was spent thinking about just getting the minimum needs taken care of, and that sometimes even the minimum isn’t enough,” one student said.

Interim Chancellor and Provost Barbara A. Bichelmeyer addressed the participants after observing the simulation. She noted that the first place people went was the employer, and that many sought help from the pawn shop rather than turning to other resources. And the one station that didn’t get much business? The medical center, a point not lost on the room full of future health-care providers.

“Today’s program shows poverty is not about people not being well-intentioned, but about people not being well-resourced,” Bichelmeyer said.

The simulation, created by the Missouri Association for Community Action, was created to help people — such as future health-care providers — understand the challenges of living in poverty day to day. It lets participants look at poverty from a variety of angles and then discuss the potential for change within their communities.

The UMKC Health Sciences IPE program is directed by Stefanie Ellison, associate dean for learning initiatives at the UMKC School of Medicine and emergency physician at Truman Medical Centers; and Valerie Ruehter, director of experiential learning and clinical assistant professor for the UMKC School of Pharmacy.

According to Ellison, who coordinated the simulation with Ruehter, the day purposely included data about poverty in Missouri.

“The activity is very personal and designed to have students walk in the shoes of someone in poverty,” Ellison said. “The takeaway is to empathize with our patients and learn very specifically about the problems our patients face.”

Ruehter agrees.

“We sometimes get frustrated when our patients aren’t doing what we asked them to do or don’t show up for clinic appointments,” Ruehter said. “This is an opportunity for students to come together and wear the other shoe, to see that it’s not always as easy as we think it might be. We can create individual practitioners, but in health care today, it takes an entire team to create positive patient outcomes. With IPE, we give students the chance to become familiar with what every discipline brings to the table, which hopefully will make a more seamless health care system.”

That’s a goal of IPE, Ellison said. “If we have our students learning in silos, but they are expected on day one in practice to begin working together as a team, then we haven’t really done our job. At UMKC, we are breaking down those silos.”

At the conclusion of the simulation, students heard a call to action: to do more, learn more, go where the patients are and ask how you can help change the system, even a little bit.

“If what we do at UMKC is to help our health-care professionals in the future think about the humanness of the people they are working with, both their peers and their patients, then I think we will have made a really significant contribution,” Bichelmeyer said.